Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has on Tuesday, assured that kidnapping, banditry and insecurity generally would soon become things of the past as Nigeria would soon triumph over them.
Prof. Osinbajo was Special Guest of Honour at a one-day peace and security summit, organised by Kaduna State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) which held at ECWA Goodnews church, Narayi, Kaduna.
The theme of the summit was entitled, “Nigeria’s Insecurity: The church’s response in the 21st century”.
The Vice President said Nigeria’s socio-economic problems were like that of a woman in a labour room, saying after much pains, there will be celebration by the people when they eventually overcome the hardship.
The Vice President who was represented by the Chaplain, Villa, Pastor Joseph Oluseyi Malomo at the summit,said “we all desired a nation devoid of any form of kidnapping and terrorism.We have heard prophecies of a shining Nigeria, we are longing for the day those prophecies will come to reality. We need to fight the fight of faith because God’s plan for the greatness of Nigeria has not changed, it will surely come. We need to pray for Nigeria.”
“Many are weighed down because of problems they are going through, we must as Christians keep the Altars of God burning with prayers to overcome these problems.
We must keep faith and see the problems we are going through as bread. God will take us to the promise land of a great nation with great values.We must reject politics of identity and ethnicity. Nigeria is going to be a shining nation, and insecurity will soon end,” he said.
A leader from the Middle Belt and Professor of Theology and social ethics, Prof Yusuf Turaki, in his remarks on the occasion, alleged that government knew the kidnappers, bandits and other criminal elements in Nigeria.
Prof. Turaki who was the keynote speaker,said violence has taken over the country to the extent that every segment of the society was overwhelmed by violence.
He disagreed with politicians who are blaming killings in middle belt on farmers/herders clash, saying it was a deceptive narrative to motives of ” a repetition of Sokoto jihadists war.”
“These are Foreign Fulani who have been allowed to enter Nigeria so that they could help their brothers in Nigeria to kill innocent citizens and wreak havoc on our ancestral lands.These Fulani occupy the lands, carrying AK47, killing people, destroying communities in the middle belt and other parts of the country.And the government knows them, government pays them to destroy ancestral lands. Politicians know the bandits that enter Nigeria, but they will not tell us.”
“Politicians have devised a wrong narrative that is deceptive, saying it is farmers/herders clash in middle belt, if it is clash, how comes Fulani are carrying AK47 to kill the people.Nigeria is well blessed with intelligent people but they cannot up till today solve insecurity in the country. Something terrible has befallen our country. God, open the mouths of the people, let them speak the truth and die for the truth.”
“What the Fulani are doing now is exactly what Sokoto jihadists did in those old days. They kidnapped and asked people to pay ransom in those days. If you cannot pay, they sold you into slavery or kill you. So kidnapping is not different from what happened during the Sokoto jihadists war. They captured infidels.It is being repeated now in Nigeria,” he said.
Earlier in his remarks,Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kaduna state chapter, Rev Joseph Hayab said 4 pastors were killed, while 18 pastors were kidnapped since the banditry began in the state in the last five years .
He said that in 2019, CAN published records of kidnappings where it recorded a total of over five hundred (500) Christians who had been kidnapped.
”On record, CAN had about eighteen (18) pastors kidnapped with four (4) of them killed. Past. Jeremiah Omolara – Living Faith Church, Romi New Extension, Rev. Iliya Anto – Former Vice President of HEKAN Church, Rev. Fr. John Bako Shekwolo – St. Theresa Catholic Church, Ankwa, Kachia Local Government Area and Rev. Hosea Akuchi – Nasara Baptist Church, Guru were killed.”
”CAN gathered these records through a questionnaire developed and shared in one of her meeting with hundreds of Pastors and relations of kidnapped victims in over twenty (20) communities that were sacked from their communities as a result of their abductions.”
“Data gathered also revealed an approximated amount of money paid as ransom to have people freed within the period, on a survey, to be over three hundred million naira (N 300,000 000) as at 2019.”
‘Today, the amount has risen to over a billion naira with many victims’ dead and even more still in the hands of kidnappers as we speak. When CAN presented the statistics above, CAN was misinterpreted, but a Kaduna state 2020 annual Security report released by government and published by Guardian Newspaper on 10th of March, 2021 vindicated CAN and furthered showed that our record did not capture the colossal damage that the spate of kidnapping has brought to bear on the population.”
‘The government’s report as published stated that 937 people were killed by Bandits and 1972 kidnapped within the period. Another first quarter 2021 security report published by government reported by premium time, on the 30th of April 2021 indicates that 323 people were killed, and 949 people have been kidnapped,” he said.
“CAN believes that the second quarter report that we are waiting for from government may have a higher figure than what we already have. Mmanifestly, the trouble with Nigeria’s security, like most of our challenges in Nigeria, simply lacks a sincere collaborative effort in solving it.”
‘ To drive home this message, I will make use of an illustration where a story is told of an engineer in a car manufacturing company who designed a world-class car.
The CEO was impressed with the outcome and praised him a lot. While trying to bring out the car from the manufacturing area to the showroom, they realized that the car was 2 inches taller than the entrance. The engineer felt bad that he did not notice that before creating the car.”
‘The CEO was confused about how to take it outside of the manufacturing area. But the painter said that they can bring out the car and there will be a few scratches on top of the car which could be touched up later on.The engineer said that they can break the entrance, take the car out and the CEO was not convinced with any ideas and felt like it was a bad idea.
‘ However, a watchman who had observed all the drama slowly approached the CEO. He wanted to give an idea if they had no problem listening to him. They wondered what this watchman would tell them that the experts could not give. The watchman said: “The car is only a few inches taller than the entrance. So, simply release the air in the tyre and the height of the car will sink and can be easily taken out.” At this point, everyone clapped for the brilliant idea.”
“The moral lesson to learn from the above is, we should not always analyse the problems from an expert point of view alone. The issues of life are similar.
Let us listen to everyone ready to suggest a way out, not only the “professionals.” Traditional leaders, religious leaders, association leaders and even the common people, youths, women and children all have a stake in this matter.”
“It is against the above background that the church in Kaduna State thought it wise to bring together pastors and church leaders in this great assembly to jointly deliberate and come out with practicable strategies within Christian teaching and biblical provisions meant to complement the government’s efforts in the great task of handling the challenge of insecurity,” he said.